Indigenous Peoples of the Sierra Nevada, Colombia

Our moringa is grown in partnership with the Arhuaco Indigenous people of the Sierra Nevada, Northern Colombia.

Looked at on a map, the Sierra Nevada mountains are roughly triangular (heart-shaped), but like a pyramid with four sides.  There are four indigenous peoples, each inhabiting a different side, all sharing a common culture and philosophy.  The Kogi, the Wiwa, the Arhuaco and the Kankuamo, collectively referring to themselves as the ‘Older Brother’, with ourselves as the ‘Younger Brother’.

The mountains themselves are clad in jungle from the coast up, then cloudforest, and finally the snowy peaks high above, at 18,000 feet.  The people know this sacred land as ‘The Heart of the World.  These people hold a reservoir of knowledge, directly handed down from ancient South American civilization.  They are highly spiritually evolved, living in harmony with Mother Earth, growing what they need and only using what is available naturally in their environment.  They consider it is their sacred duty to maintain the balance of the Earth, and as part of that to teach us about the Earth, about Spirit, about living in harmony.

I first read about the Sierra Nevada in Alan Ereira’s book ‘The Heart of the Earth’, shortly after it came out in 1990.  It told the story of the Kogi, an indigenous people living high in the remote Sierra Nevada mountains of northern Colombia.  When the conquistadors arrived, they were fisherfolk living on the coast.  They were peaceful, never fought back, and simply retreated inland; higher and higher into the mountains.  A remote people, hardly known by ‘civilization’.  They however, studied  us – and in the late 1980s after centuries of self-imposed isolation, their representatives contacted Alan, a BBC journalist, to come and make a film with them, about their way of life, their philosophy, but overwhelmingly about the effect that our society, our lack of consciousness really, was having on the planet.  They could see the damage being done to the Earth, and their film was an attempt to awaken and warn humanity to the danger.

Colombia then was still in the midst of the gruesome decades-long war between rebels, the government and drugs barons.  This further prevented the Kogi from access to their traditional lands, and added considerable danger and excitement to Alan’s journey.

They brought Alan back in 2012 to make a second film ‘Aluna’:
“The leaders of an ancient hidden civilization in South America want to show mankind how to avoid destroying the planet. They travel with an aging British film-maker and four hundred kilometres of gold thread to trace invisible connections in nature.”

While the  Kogi maintain their isolation high up in the mountains, the Arhuaco have regained some of their land in recent years, aided by the ceasefire and subsequent peace treaty, and the decline in the power of the drug cartels.  The fighting over decades had made it very hard for the people to travel in what was their own land, with many being forced off their land.   Where they have taken back land which was previously farmed, they are in the process allowing it to  re-wild, restoring vitality and the ecosystem.  At the heart of this is water.  The indigenous people revere water and consider it our prime duty to look after water sources.  However, the water systems of the Sierra Nevada are under great threat from hydroelectric dams, and from mining.  Although the people may hold title to their land, if minerals are discovered, then they have no legal rights and the mining will go ahead.

The peoples of the Sierra Nevada are surrounded by 400+ mining operations, damaging the earth, polluting the water.  This is a deliberate assault on an area of high spiritual vibration, which is why we have pledged our support to helping their cause.

More Information

Aluna (the DVD) : on Amazon

The Heart of the Earth (book) by Alan Ereira